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Heberden’s Nodes

March 31, 2012

Osteoarthritis symptoms of the hand can include difficulty bending and flexing your fingers, joint pain, and morning stiffness. Along with joint swelling and crepitus, common with finger arthritis, Heberden’s nodes can also appear.

Heberden’s nodes are growths of bone on the distal interphalangeal joints (DIPs).  These bumps can be a clear indication of  hand osteoarthritis.

Dr. William Heberden (1710 – 1801) was an english doctor who first described these bumps:

“What are those little hard knobs, about the size of a small pea, which are frequently seen upon the fingers, particularly a little below the top near the joint? They have no connection with the gout, being found in persons who never had it: they con- tinue for life: and being hardly ever attended with pain, or disposed to become sore, are rather un- sightly than inconvenient, though they must be some little hindrance to the free use of the fingers.”

Dr. Heberden was ahead of his time.  He didn’t believe in blood-letting, sweating, and purging – all common treatment options during that day and age.  He was known as the “Father of Observation”.

An ice pack or finger splint can help.

 



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